Who does my auto insurance cover?
Most auto policies cover you, your spouse, other relatives who live in your household, and others who have your permission to drive your insured vehicle. This would include people to whom you knowingly lend your car. Check your policy, however. Some policies have a Named Operator provision which requires that all drivers must be listed on the policy to be covered.
What is a no-fault insurance state?
Many states have passed laws permitting the individual automobile accident victim to collect directly from his or her own insurance company for medical and hospital expenses, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This differs from the traditional tort system where the victim can sue for compensation for damages. There are many variations in the laws of those states which have no-fault statutes. Most states restrict the individual's right to sue the negligent party unless the claim exceeds a certain stated limit.
Do I need auto insurance on an old car with little or no value?
Yes, most states require that you carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Liability insurance pays bodily injury or property damages for which you may be legally responsible due to the ownership, maintenance or use of your car. You may, however, opt out of collision or comprehensive coverage if the car has a low resale value, although this may not be the best option for everyone. Remember, only give up coverage if you can afford to pay it yourself should an accident occur.
Is a rental car covered under my auto policy?
Policies vary greatly in this respect and you may or may not have coverage. For instance, some policies will cover rentals for personal travel but not for business travel. Additionally, the insurance package offer by the rental agency may not cover you the way you need or expect. To make sure you are appropriately covered, talk to your insurance company about the treatment of rental cars specifically for your policy.
What should I do if I have an accident?
If you have an accident, take your time to gather the information you will need to cover a claim correctly and quickly. Summon the police to file a report. Get the license and insurance information of the other driver, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. Write down everything you can remember about the accident while it's fresh in your mind. Call your insurance company right away. Finally, start a file for all the paper work that will accumulate. Don't throw anything out. Make brief but clear notes of all your contacts with the insurance company, body shop, health care providers, lawyers, and anyone else involved and keep all the information in the file for quick and easy access. You should retain this information for three to five years until the claim clears your record.